Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Idea for a Frugal Mother's Day Gift

I'm not sure about you, but money is tight this year!  I am constantly trying to figure out inexpensive ways to celebrate the minor holidays (that is what I call any holiday that doesn't include Christmas!) and birthdays without breaking the bank.  Mother's Day crept up on me this year.  Even though I still have some time left, I know I need to get on the ball with my potential gifts!

Being a "foodie" I decided this year to make something in that category for Mother's Day.  My idea?  Homemade vanilla extract!  Not only is this a useful gift, it is a bit expensive if you buy the good stuff (Watkins) at the store! 

Strolling through blogland yesterday, I stumbled upon someone's idea (wish I could remember what blog it was!) of homemade vanilla extract.  What an excellent idea!  It's rather easy to make too!  It requires only two ingredients:  vodka and vanilla beans.  Yep, believe it or not...that's it!  You'll also need a pretty bottle to store it in with a lid that seals completely.

Now, on the net, there is great debate on just how long the vanilla beans have to soak in the vodka.  Some say 4 weeks, and others say the longer it soaks, the more potent the flavoring is.  And, get this...to refresh it?  Just add more vodka!!  Brilliant!!!

So, here's the recipe:

Ingredients:

2 Cups (16 oz.) vodka
6 Vanilla Beans

You can easily cut this recipe in half and use 3 vanilla beans and 1 cup of vodka.

Pour the vodka into a glass container.  A mason jar works good.  Cut the vanilla beans and cram them down into the vodka so they are covered up.  Put a lid on the jar and put somewhere out of the light.  Shake the liquid occasionally to mix the contents.  You will be able to taste the vanilla flavor after a few days but the longer it sits, the stronger it will be.  (I hear 8 weeks later it will have a nice amber color to it! Pretty!!)

Then you just add your homemade concoction to a pretty bottle, decorate and give as a gift.  You can add instructions to the bottle recipient that when the bottle is half full, they can refill it with vodka to replenish it.

I also plan to print up a little cookbook with some vanilla flavor recipes to go along with the vanilla flavoring!

Since I'm pinched for time and don't have 8 weeks till Mother's day, I plan to also add on the instructions to let it sit for at least 3-4 weeks before using! 

I bake a lot and I know the folks I'll be giving this to bake too.  Having some good vanilla flavoring on hand is essential when baking. I hope they enjoy this little handmade gift!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I've heard about this before but haven't tried it. From what I've seen, you can make most extracts this way.

This would be a great teacher gift! Teacher appreciation is next week so I may give some starter extracts in a variety of flavors to our teachers!!! Thanks for the idea!